Food poisoning poses a significant risk to seniors. Their weakened immune systems may not be able to fight off the pathogens from contaminated food, which can lead to prolonged or severe illness, hospitalization and even fatality. Here are five ways to prevent food poisoning at home to keep your senior loved one safe and healthy.
Practice Personal Hygiene
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling food. Proper handwashing entails the cleaning of:
- Your palms
- The back of your hands
- Between your fingers
- The back of your fingers
- The base of your thumbs
- Under your fingernails
- Your wrists
Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Disinfect your kitchen surfaces such as countertops, cutting boards and sinks before and after preparing food. Make sure to wash your utensils properly with dishwashing liquid and hot water to kill foodborne pathogens. Dispose of waste properly and empty your bins regularly to prevent a buildup of bacteria.
Keep Perishables in The Fridge or Freezer Immediately
Refrigerate or freeze your food within two hours of preparing or purchasing it. Avoid leaving it at room temperature as it can cause the proliferation of foodborne pathogens. Ensure that your food is wrapped in cling wrap or stored in an air-tight container before storing it away in the fridge.
Ensure Food is Cooked Through
Use temperature probes or cooking thermometers to make sure that your food is cooked fully. The middle or thickest part of your food should reach 70°C or 185°F for more than two minutes. When cooking, you can also try to cut the food open with a knife to make sure that its insides are cooked evenly.
Separate Raw Food from Cooked Food
If you have cooked and uncooked food in your kitchen, keep them separate to prevent cross-contamination. Use two different cutting boards for cutting raw and cooked food respectively, and store them in separate bowls. When bringing raw produce back home from the store, pack them into separate bags from other ready-to-eat foods. Lastly, avoid washing raw meat and eggs in the sink to prevent germs from spreading around your kitchen.
If Unsure, Discard It
When it comes to food, it never hurts to be too careful. If you are unsure that a food has been cooked or stored properly, throw it out right away even if it smells fine or looks fine. Contaminated food does not always show indications of being unsafe for consumption. Furthermore, food that has been left out in the open for too long may have pathogens that cannot be killed by reheating or cooking and are hence unsafe to eat.
Healthy Eating at Our Retirement Community
Do you worry if your senior loved one is eating right at home? Our dedicated caregivers are here to help by preparing fresh and healthy meals daily to meet the nutrition requirements of our residents. In addition to our sensational dining, our retirement community also offers a dynamic health and wellness program for all residents to achieve all aspects of good health.